IS THE FORMULA A SUCCESS?
UR readers will remember that the International Formula for Grand Prix races caused a considerable storm of discussion when it was first announced in 1933. After a season has elapsed we are now in a position to form some conclusion as to the success—or otherwise—of the formula, which is to be in force until the end of 1936.
With one exception our own views coincide with those of M. Perouse, President of the Sporting Commission of the A.C.F., published recently in a French contemporary. In brief, M. Perouse believes that some means of limiting the speed of racing cars will have to be found, because the stage has now been reached when the cars have become too fast for any but super men tO handle without endangering their own lives and those of fellow-drivers and spectators. Nothing can be learned at the moment from travelling at a higher speed than 180 m.p.h. on normal roads. Bearing in mind that the present formula must necessarily remain in force for two more seasons, what is to be done to give motor racing a useful function in the development of the automobile, and at the same time reduce the risk of accidents ? Amendments to the formula of too drastic a nature cannot be included, in fairness to the manufacturers who have spent considerable sums of money in building their present racing machines. The first thing to be clone is to stipulate that normal fuel should be used, containing only a specified content of ethyl or benzol. In this way speeds would inevitably come down with a rush, with the advantage that more could be learnt about
obtaining the maximum power from normal fuels. At present the tremendously costly fuels used have no relation whatsoever to motoring in general. As to limiting fuel consumption, M. Perouse does not suggest this, and we are of the opinion that this should only be applied with the greatest care, i.e. a generous consumption should be allowed. Some of the cars racing nowadays have a consumption of less than 5 miles per gallon, so a little improvement in this respect would undoubtedly have the twinfold effect of reducing speed and promoting knowledge. M. Perouse also recommends that the circuits should be made more difficult, cutting down speed in that way. On this point we do not entirely agree. At least one “straight leg” on a road course is essential, otherwise maximum speed counts for nought. As to the danger element, it is generally on corners that accidents happen —although we admit that the trouble may be caused by the colossal speed at which the cars now approach a corner at the end of a straight stretch. There seems little
to find fault with in most of the courses used to-day except that some of them are rather too narrow. Rain is the chief cause of accidents, and occasionally the failure of a driver to give sufficient room to a passing car. Finally, with the example of the Italian Grand Prix so fresh in our minds, when the course used was so slow that the race was lacking in interest, the idea of altering the actual circuits will appear to be even less attractive.
We invite our readers to give their views on this subject, which has a vital bearing on the future of Grand Prix road racing.